What is a Debit Card - Meaning, Types, Advantages & Benefits (2023)

In this day and age, debit cards have become a necessity for many people. It is not always possible to carry large amounts of cash and in the post-pandemic world, people are taking all precautions, including avoiding dealing with cash, to keep themselves safe.

Debit cards help you go cashless by allowing you to pay electronically. They also enable you to withdraw money instantly via an ATM without having to stand in long lines at your bank. Debit cards are compatible with many mobile payment applications like Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayTm, etc. In this article, we take a look at debit cards, their types, and their benefits in India.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card is a plastic card that gives you electronic access to your savings account at any bank. Debit cards use ATMs to access the account. They differ from credit cards, as money cannot be used in advance and paid to the bank later. You can only use the sum of money in your bank account. You can use your debit card to pay for purchases made in online and offline stores.

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Debit card benefits

Using a debit card instead of carrying cash everywhere has many benefits. Some of them include the following:

Convenience: Debit cards are easy to use and are accepted at almost every ATM. They have made withdrawing cash very convenient, as you can immediately get cash at the bank. The transactions made by debit cards take little time involving only 2 to 3 steps, making them advantageous.

Security: Debit cards are protected with a four-digit PIN required whenever you withdraw money or make a transaction. Nowadays, debit cards are linked to phone numbers, requiring a One-Time Password or OTP sent to your phone to authenticate any purchase or transaction. You also receive notifications almost instantly after a transaction is made using your debit card, which gives an added layer of security. If your card is stolen or you misplace it, you can easily lock the card by contacting your bank without much hassle.

Accessibility: Debit cards are easily accessible. You only need a bank account to be eligible for a debit card. These days, debit cards are offered when someone opens a savings account and the process is simple. Upon requesting a card, your bank will link your account to a unique card, issue it to you and you will be good to go.

It helps you set a budget: Credit cards give you access to money to make transactions that are not in your account in advance, which you can pay off within a specified time limit. This can lead to people getting carried away and spending way above what their budget allows. This leads to many problems in the future if you cannot pay it off on time and incurs debt. Debit cards, on the other hand, are linked to your bank account and only give you access to the cash in your account when making the transaction. So, they help people be more mindful of the amount they are spending.

Types of debit cards

Debit cards are usually categorised based on the technology they use, the usage you have in mind and the payment platform. Various banks offer six significant types of debit cards in India, which are:

Visa debit cards: Branded by Visa, operating on the Visa network, these debit cards are among the most globally accepted debit cards for online and offline transactions. Banks, in partnership with the Visa Payment System network, can issue you Visa debit cards. The company initially started with just credit cards and has now expanded its horizon to debit cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, etc. The types of debit cards that come under this category are- Visa Classic Debit Card, Visa Gold Debit Card, Visa Platinum Debit Card, Visa Signature Debit Card and Visa Infinite Card. Each type is designed to suit different needs and has unique features.

MasterCard debit cards: After Visa cards, MasterCard debit cards are one of the most popular debit cards used across the globe. The debit card brand is issued by Mastercard and is one of the most accepted forms of online payment. It helps you connect to your savings account through its high-security SecureCode payment platform while making a transaction. Some of the most widely used forms of MasterCard debit cards are the World Debit MasterCard, the standard debit cards, and the enhanced debit card. Some of the factors that work in favour of its popularity are excellent service, top-notch customer support and its various benefits and rewards programs.

RuPay debit cards: They are country-specific debit cards. They are Indian cards issued by the National Payments Corporation of India. Unlike the other two cards mentioned above, these are only accepted domestically. They serve various purposes domestically, that is similar to other cards and can be used to make online and offline transactions and for bill payment purposes. These cards are issued by almost all public and private sector banks. These cards have made debit cards accessible to people living in remote areas and small rural villages in India.

Contactless debit cards: These cards usually process payments by swiping the card in a card machine. To make a payment, you must wave the card over a device, and your transaction will be processed automatically via a wireless network. Contactless debit cards help you with transactions without swiping the card. They have become even more popular post-pandemic and some of the common names that they are known as include touch-free, tap-and-go and proximity payments. These cards are very secure and use Near Field Communications or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to process payments. Contactless cards also offer an added layer of security as it is not possible for people to copy your card details while you are making a payment.

Maestro Debit Cards: Mastercard offers Maestro Debit Cards under the brand Maestro. They are globally accepted and can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs or make offline payments. Based on the associated bank with the card, it is possible to even make online payments with these cards.

Best debit cards

Some of the best debit cards in India that are also very popular include ICICI Bank Coral Paywave International Debit Card, HDFC Bank RuPay Premium Debit Card, Kotak Bank PayShopMore International Chip Debit Card, Axis Bank Burgundy Debit Card, etc. They all offer unique features and benefits that are made to suit the various needs of different customers. So, ask for assistance from the concerned authority in your preferred bank to make the right choice. Let's look at some of them to get an idea:

ICICI Bank Coral Paywave International Debit Card

ICICI Bank Coral Paywave International Debit Card is one of the most secure contactless debit cards. It has various discounts and cashback offers, so it helps you get a better deal while purchasing. This card is accepted internationally without any hassle. Some of its most prominent features are:

  • Internationally accepted
  • Both online and offline transactions are possible
  • Low renewal fees
  • It offers 2 free lounge access at various airports for passengers who booked tickets using this card.
  • High withdrawal and online payment limit for a seamless experience

HDFC Bank RuPay Premium Debit Card

HDFC Bank RuPay Premium Debit Card is one of the best RuPay cards available in the market, suitable for online and offline transactions in India. You can connect this card to PayPal, which will also help you make purchases on international websites. Some of its benefits are:

  • Discount on various eCommerce websites
  • High limit for online purchases
  • Cashback is offered while booking railway tickets and utility bill payments on selected sites
  • Low renewal fees
  • It offers 2 free lounge access at various airports for passengers who booked tickets using this card

Kotak Bank PayShopMore International Chip Debit Card

It is famous for being a debit card with more features than any in the market. This helps you to shop very conveniently with many offers for online purchases. This also has international transaction and cash withdrawal features available. The benefits are-

  • You get the protection of up to ₹2.50 lakh if you lose the card.
  • It offers up to ₹50,000 protection for online transactions.
  • Many cashback offers.
  • Heavily customisable looks.
  • Free lounge access at domestic and international airports.

Axis Bank Burgundy Debit Card

It is one of India's most popular contactless and premium debit cards. Powered by Mastercard, it has the highest withdrawal limits in India. You must maintain a minimum balance of ₹10 lakh, or you will need to pay a high renewal fee. Some of its features are:

  • High online payment limit.
  • High ATM cash withdrawal limit.
  • Many cashback offers along with free tickets offer.
  • Access to special lounges with VIP facilities.
  • Lost card liability charges can be up to ₹6 lakh.


Debit cards have become one of the essential parts of our day-to-day life. It has made transactions effortless and hassle-free in a secure manner. We hope this article helped you to make an informed decision while choosing a debit card that best suits your needs.


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